Confidence slumps

Heathrow: ‘global travel recovery years away’


Heathrow: confidence among travellers has slumped

Britain’s biggest airport says it could be “several years” before international travel recovers to 2019 levels.

New Government-imposed travel restrictions have further dampened passenger confidence, said Heathrow.

Demand at Britain’s biggest airport in November fell by 60% on pre-pandemic levels, despite the US reopening earlier in the month.

It reported a high level of cancellations by business travellers concerned about being trapped overseas because of pre-departure testing.

Heathrow is urging government ministers to reduce restrictions as soon as it is safe to do so and to allow UK nationals from red list countries to isolate at home so that they can be reunited with family for Christmas.

“If the Government signals that aviation could restart soon, that will give employers at Heathrow the confidence to start recruiting and training thousands of people from the local community ahead of next summer,” said the company in its latest update.

It forecasts a slow start to 2022, finishing next year with around 45 million passengers – only just over half of the airport’s pre-pandemic levels.

This aligns closely with the forecast published by the CAA in its Initial Proposals, and that of the airlines’ international trade body, IATA, which predicts global passenger numbers in 2022 will be about 60% of 2019 levels

“We do not expect that international travel will recover to 2019 levels until at least all travel restrictions (including testing) are removed from all the markets that we serve, at both ends of the route, and there is no risk of new restrictions, such as quarantine, being imposed. This is likely to be several years away.”

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